More States Trying To Legalize Hitting Protesters In The Street
The last few years have seen more and more protests in streets across America. Tennessee is the latest state to attempt to legalize criminal immunity for drivers who “unintentionally” drive their vehicles into protesters. States that are already allowing this include Oklahoma, Missouri and Iowa.
Essentially, the bill would protect drivers from criminal prosecution IF they can prove they “exercised due caution” somehow while driving a vehicle through a sea of people.
Local Tennessee news Channel 9 looked into the proposed bill and report that lawmakers supporting the bill claim it protects drivers from harm if they’re targeted during a protest.
“If you’re intentionally cause harm this bill won’t cover you, that’s not what we’re trying to do here,” Representative William Lamberth said in a recent hearing.
Saying it unfairly targets social justice advocates, both the ACLU and NAACP are against the bill. The bill doesn’t just protect drivers, it also strengthens punishments for protesters. The penalties for illegally blocking streets would be upgraded from a misdemeanor to a class E felony. This comes with a maximum penalty of $3,000 and the loss of their right to vote.
In addition, new laws included in the bill would make it illegal to throw something at someone during a protest as well as illegal to harass someone who isn’t taking part in the protest.